“Iced grande vanilla latte, please. And oh, by the way, what is there to do in Anacortes?”
Such is life behind the counter for barista Jenny Krueger, who has worked for Starbucks for five years. She is oftentimes serving customers who are visiting Fidalgo Island for the first time.
“I talk frequently to people who want my recommendations for places to go, things to do,” she said. “I’m happy to help, from directing them to our community events board to telling them about great local assets.”
Jenny, who grew up 20 miles away in Sedro-Woolley, recalls her own season of the discovery of exciting island features.
“My husband, who grew up in Anacortes, started taking me to his favorite places. It was like a year before we went to the same place twice.”
The barista, who graduated from the University of Puget Sound as an English major with a minor in biology, has since become a mother and cherishes time spent in local parks, forests, and beaches.
“I have a passion for outdoor learning,” she said. “My goal is to get out every day no matter the weather. After all, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing, right?”
Jenny’s first objective when she slips into “advisor mode” is to try to get a sense of her customers’ interests.
A family with children might be directed to a public park, like Storvik, a large open park with features including a toddler playground and a splash park (“It’s an awesome example of an entire community coming together to realize a common vision.”).
“Are you catching a ferry?” she might inquire. “I recommend the Ship Harbor beach next door to the terminal (SHIP).”
Staying for a few days? Then you are going to want to hike a trail or two in the city’s 2,800-acre forestland (“I love Little Cranberry Lake!”). And you must check out the views from Deception Pass, Mt. Erie and Cap Sante.”
For families with children, Jenny highly recommends the public library, with a small outdoor playground and a wonderful children’s library. She is also a big fan of the seasonal Anacortes Farmer’s Market, an outside market with a wide variety of merchants – and oftentimes live music.
Again, the coffee shop “bulletin board” across from Starbucks’ main counter is teeming with posters with details about local events, ranging from live music to stage performances at the Anacortes Community Theater or Anacortes High School.
This bright smiling barista, who attributes a lifetime love of coffee to her Finnish lineage, has also developed a deep love for Anacortes since making it her home.
“This is a beautiful community,” she said, “and the list of things to do is endless.”